As WNBA superstar Brittney Griner remains in Russian custody after she was found guilty of drug charges and sentenced to nine years in prison in a trial largely considered a political sham, her wife Cherelle Griner is speaking out about her wife’s situation and what it will take to bring her home.
In an interview with CBS News, Cherelle Griner gave her thoughts on the current political situation surrounding Brittney Griner, including the ongoing negotiations between United States President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“On its face, it just seems like my wife is a hostage,” Griner told CBS News. “To know that our government and a foreign government is sitting down and negotiating for her release – she’s a hostage.”
While Cherelle Griner does believe Biden is working to bring her wife home, she also acknowledges that he is limited in what he can do because it requires cooperation on Russia’s end.
“I feel as if his own merit, he’s doing what he can,” Cherelle Griner said of Biden. “But there’s another party in this situation. And we also are dealing with the need for Russia to have mercy on B.G. as well.”
If Brittney Griner is going to be released, Cherelle Griner thinks Putin must change his mindset.
“I feel at this point it’s going to take Putin to have that same mindset and say ‘You know what, Brittney Griner, who came to my country for 7 or 8 years and helped my country be recognized through sports, paid taxes in my country, and helped my country, I’m going to sit at a table and I’m going to be clear about what I need in return for her release so that we can actually get a meeting of the minds between these two governments,” Cherelle Griner said.
Cherelle Griner hopes the two sides can work out a deal before Brittney Griner’s appeal hearing begins on October 25. After that hearing, it’s possible Griner is sent to a labor camp, which Cherelle Griner isn’t sure her wife can survive.